D&D 5E Epic Monsters: Oberon

This Epic Monsters entry isn’t in iambic pentameter, but he wasn’t either (at least not at first). We’re talking about the Fairy King Oberon!

Oberon DnD 5e BANNER.jpg

Oberon’s name comes from Alberon which is from Alberich—the dwarf that guarded Nibelungen’s treasure and was overcome by Siegfried in the Burgundian poem Nibelungenlied—and although his origins date further back than the play and depending on the teller are really quite intriguing (the child of Morgan le Fay and Julius Caesar?!?), he is best known for being the spouse of Titania in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In Les Prouesses et faitz du noble Huon de Bordeaux in the early 13th century Oberon is portrayed as a short but handsome elf who offers aid to the hero Huon as he passes through a forest. Though cautioned against interacting with Oberon, Huon answers the elf’s greeting and gains his aid in a quest to visit the Emir of Babylon and win a pardon. It’s in this tale that the reason for Oberon’s reduced height is explained: in his infancy another fey took offense and cursed him to be short, though beautiful.

A few centuries later in Shakespeare’s play, Oberon quarrels with his wife Titania over who will raise a child—he wishes to make the boy a henchman, she wants to raise the boy on behalf of a mortal follower that died in childbirth. Their disagreement stirs up the forces of nature and brings about a storm, raining frogs, and ultimately the worst that each season has to offer. To distract her from the child Oberon hatches a plan: he commands Puck to acquire a flower laced by a chance touch against one of Cupid’s arrows, using the love within to make a juice that he pours on her eyes as she sleeps. When Titania awakes she falls madly in love with the first person she sees: an actor named Bottom, currently cursed with the head of a donkey thanks to the Fairy King’s henchman. A great deal more trickery and folly results from the use of this flower’s influence upon two couples that wander into the woods (Hermia and Lysander, and Demetrius and Helena) until Oberon gets angry at how badly Puck has confused the humans he means to manipulate, so he puts the entire forest asleep and reverses the effect on most of his victims. While looking upon his wife Oberon realizes he’s taken things too far, so he uses a magic herb to end the flower’s influence on her, telling her in the resulting confusion that her strange dream really happened. They live happily ever after.

Design Notes: Though his paramour is built with class levels, Titania isn’t putting entire forests to sleep so Oberon is getting the monster treatment though we’ll be keeping him within the same general power range as his wife. The simple answer there would be to make another 20th level glamour bard and swap the names around, but we can do better than that. Instead what follows is a spell-slinging fey that can remain illusive that’s just a smidge more powerful than his counterpart—it came down to whether or not to have those punchy 3/day each innate spells, and if we’re talking about a monarch he ought to be capable of some impressive displays of power. However to simply use him for his elemental magic would be wasting Oberon’s potential; instead get him under greater invisibility, cast call lightning and drop a confusion or two with his lair actions, and generally force the adventurers to choose between dispelling harmful effects from the battlefield or focusing on where this tricky foe has most recently moved. Let’s do the numbers! After settling on those punchy spells, the DMG came in at 14.166 and the Blog of Holding at 13.8333, and we’ll round the average up given Oberon’s unique magic traits to a solid CR 14.

Oberon

Small fey, chaotic neutral
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 110 (20d6+40)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
13 (+1)​
19 (+4)​
14 (+2)​
16 (+3)​
13 (+1)​
22 (+6)​
Saving Throws Int +8, Wis +6; Proficiency +5
Skills Deception +11, Insight +6, Perception +6, Performance +16, Persuasion +16
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, stunned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Common, Elvish
Challenge 14 (11,500 XP)

Everflowing Cup. Oberon carries a magical cup. While Oberon or a creature of good alignment is holding the cup, they are able to cast create food and water at will without the need for any other components. In addition, the cup can produce wine instead of water.

Innate Spellcasting. Oberon’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 19, +11 to hit with spell attacks). Oberon can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
At will: enhance ability, faerie fire, fog cloud, gust of wind, heroism, invisibility, mage hand, misty step, prestidigitation, produce flame, ray of frost, shocking grasp, sleep, vicious mockery
5/day: conjure woodland beings, locate creature, major image, sending, suggestion
3/day each: call lightning, cone of cold, dream, fireball, tree stride
3/day: confusion, conjure fey, greater invisibility
1/day each: control weather, irresistible dance

Juice of Love. Oberon has 5 doses of a juice drawn from a flower graced by Cupid’s arrow. When a dose of this juice is dropped onto the eyes of a sleeping creature or a creature in a trance during a long rest, it acts as the philter of love magic item but doesn’t take effect until the creature awakens or the trance ends.

Master of the Woods (1/Short Rest). Any forest that does not already have a master becomes Oberon’s lair after he finishes a long rest in it. While within his lair, Oberon can perform a 1 minute ritual to magically influence any number of creatures he chooses within his lair with one of the following effects:
  • Distract: For the next hour mist becomes silvery, the shadows play tricks, and leaves constantly rustle unsettlingly on the periphery. Each creature has disadvantage on Intelligence (Investigation) and Wisdom (Perception) checks.
  • Entertain: Music floats through the air for 10 minutes. Each creature that can hear the music must make a DC 19 Charisma saving throw or begin to dance and sing for the duration. An entertained creature’s speed is halved, and it has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws and attack rolls. At the end of each of its turns, an entertained creature can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.
  • Invigorate: Each creature is filled with vigor for the next hour. An invigorated creature gains advantage on saving throws against fear, its speed increases by 5 feet, and it gains 6 temporary hit points at the start of each of its turns.
  • Slumber: Each creature makes a DC 19 Charisma saving throw or falls unconscious for 10 minutes, until it takes damage, or someone uses an action to shake or slap it awake. At the end of every 10 minutes, a sleeping creature repeats the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Creatures that do not sleep or who are immune to magical sleep are not immune to the effects of this trait.


ACTIONS
Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker that Oberon can see hits him with an attack, he can use his reaction to halve the attack’s damage against him.


LAIR ACTIONS
On initiative count 20 (losing all initiative ties), Oberon can use one of his lair action options. He can’t do so while incapacitated or otherwise unable to take actions. If surprised, Oberon can’t use one until after his first turn in the combat.
  • A keening laughter echoes throughout the woods. Each creature that Oberon chooses that is able to hear the laughter must make a DC 19 Charisma saving throw. On a failure, a creature is overcome by an urge to giggle. On its turn, a giggling creature can take an action or bonus action (but not both), and it cannot take reactions. At the end of each of its turns, a giggling creature repeats the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. After a creature makes a successful saving throw against this effect, it has advantage on saving throws against this effect for the next 24 hours.
  • Oberon imparts a bit of sentience into a thatch of trees while casting a concentration spell with a casting time of 1 round, giving a 5-foot square of vegetation he can see within 100 feet a soft kaleidoscopic glow. While imparted with sentience, the thatch of trees concentrates on the spell, allowing Oberon to concentrate on a new spell or continue concentrating on a spell he has already cast. Oberon can impart sentience to no more than 3 thatches of trees at a time. When a thatch of trees concentrating on a spell is destroyed (AC 8, 13 hit points, vulnerability to fire) any spell the trees were concentrating on immediately ends.
  • Grasping weeds and vines sprout from the ground in a 30-foot radius around a point that Oberon chooses within 100 feet. Until the start of Oberon’s next turn, the ground in the area is difficult terrain. A creature in the area when Oberon uses this lair action must make a DC 19 Strength saving throw or be restrained by the entangling plants for the duration. A creature restrained by the plants can use its action to make a DC 19 Strength check, freeing itself on a success.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


Oberon in the serie "Gargoyles" was capable to cause a lot of troubles. Even he casted a sleep spell in all New York city.

 
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jgsugden

Legend
Nice work for the CR, but I'd really have been aiming at a CR in the 20s. This is the King of the Feywild, a Force of Chaos, and someone that could change the world ... if he just had the focus to do so. My version is on par with an Archdevil or Demon Lord, and can warp reality in a variety of ways via creating illusions and then making them real. I've only used him once in 5E, and that was a three way scuffle between him, Titania and the PCs... but I've used him a lot since the 1980s in other editions. There have been a lot of highlights from those encounters.
 


Quartz

Hero
I sit in awe at your write-ups.

Slumber: Each creature makes a DC 19 Charisma saving throw or falls unconscious for 10 minutes, until it takes damage, or someone uses an action to shake or slap it awake. At the end of every 10 minutes, a sleeping creature repeats the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.

How about imposing Disadvantage on rolls to wake up? Or eliminate the wake-up roll if the target would otherwise go to sleep normally (e.g. at the end of a day)? Otherwise people aren't going to stay asleep for long.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) piercing damage.

This seems a little low for someone who's supposed to be a great hunter. Hunter's Mark at will seems to be the obvious addition, but perhaps there's another Ranger ability that might fit too?

BTW Did you check out Oberon's appearance in Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London series? He appears in one of the graphic novels, possibly other places too.
 

Rafael Martin

Adventurer
I have a suggestion for your writeup list. The legendary Colonel Percy Fawcett. He famously disappeared in Brazil in 1925 searching for the lost Incan city of gold that he named Z. He kept writing letters that were published in the newspapers of the time. Then mysteriously the letters stopped. This would be a great writeup.
 


Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
BTW Did you check out Oberon's appearance in Ben Aaronovich's Rivers of London series? He appears in one of the graphic novels, possibly other places too.
That should put people asleep long enough for him (or Puck) to (within reasonable narrative parameters) do what they do but amping it up a bit shouldn't break anything. As for the hunting thing he can be invisible basically all of the time so that +9 is more like a +13/+14. Also imagine telling this guy that actually you are the better hunter and I feel like we're closer to the really real behind that accolade.

I haven't read Rivers of London but if I spot it next time I'm perusing the library (I typically go for comics because I constantly lose my damn card so whatever I can do in a sitting = awesome) I will give it a go.
 


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